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Atrium cover

2 replies [Last post]
Joined: Sep 8 2003

Hi everyone-After many years of trying to figure out a low cost way to cover my atrium in the winter time, but still have an open air feel, I think i may have done it. I hired some guys to install some polycarbonate panels I found at home depot. I told them I want it slanted for rain run off, low profile with as few cross beams as possible, removable in the summer because I don't want to over heat the house, water proof and not nailed to my new foam roof. I was a little concerned that it was impossible but they did it! Well it has been raining here and my atrium is dry. (there is one small drip in an area that is not a problem) The plastic is thick and does have waves in it but is clear and looks kind of cool. You can still see the trees, sky etc. Most of all the room is so much warmer. I did want some air to come in for the plants, for ventilation, so it over laps with the roof and is slightly open on the sides. I sat in the atrium with a friend this morning and had coffee. My sliding door to the atrium is now open without a huge draft of cold air coming inside. I feel like I have greatly improved the usability of my space-also don't have to get wet when going to open the front door! I just hope my plants survive because they add so much to the atrium's aesthetic. I plan to have a Halloween party this weekend and if it rains, the atrium will definitely be used. :)

Joined: Apr 2 2003

Sounds interesting. Any chance you could share photos (post in the photo gallery and/or provide a link)?

You said you didn't want it to attach to the roof, and that it (panels?) be removable in the summer. So, is it the case that the contractors built a frame that overlaps the roof edges of the atrium? That the panels gravity fit into the frame? And that either panels and/or frame itself can be removed?

Would be great to hear more details.


eichfan at rawbw dot com

Joined: Sep 8 2003

I will try to figure out how to post pics! Anyway, i did not want to impact the roof, so there is a frame on 2 of the sides screwed in to the top inside wall of the atrium with the top level with the roof. The other 2 side have brackets on the inside portion to fit the cross beams that were installed to hold the poly. The poly is affixed to the cross beams and to the frame. The poly also has special pieces you can use and screws with washers so you don't cause a leak. I bought those at home depot with the poly. The polycarbonate panels were the most expensive part at $30 per panel but there were some cheaper ones. The panels overlap so as not to cause leaks-my small leak has also disappeared and there were no new leaks in all the heavy rain we just had. In order to remove, screws will have to be removed from the brackets-we will have to do that in the summer because it will get too hot. My original Eicher beams have been cut out in the open area due to rot and we chose not to replace them but that would not have affected the design of the cover except that the cross beams for the poly could be placed to run directly above the Eichler beams. In retospect, it would have been better to have my new cross beams run over where the old beams used to be but my opening has a jog in it and I think they did it this way for strutural reasons. The original beams still are slightly visible where they hold up the roof overhang. I am just amazed at how much warmer the house is-with kids I don't have to worry as much re whether the sliding door to the house from the atrium is open. There is a huge difference between the backyard air and the new enclosed atrium. Also I no longer get tiny leaves from the Elm tree out front cluttering up the atrium and being tracked into the house and my atrium furniture is clean and dry and ready for use. My husband now feels the cover is worth the $800. Anyway, more info for you!

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